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And is the Budapest Hotel truly grand?
In a word, no. This latest Wes Anderson film is silly, over the top, and in some places, down right weird. But you know what? It’s still a load of fun!
The way I like to think of this picture is as a live-action cartoon, or else the bizarro version of Moulin Rouge. The story makes no sense, the characters are bizarre, and there are some action sequences, like the one where the two protagonists are running across a frozen tundra, that look like they’ve been ripped straight from a Mickey Mouse comic. And yet, the color scheme is beautiful, the costumes are exquisitely elaborate, and there are just enough humorous moments and interesting twists to keep you engaged. Plus, the cinematography is reminiscent of the great Stanley Kubrick, which is always good in my mind.
Basically, The Grand Budapest Hotel knows that it’s a movie, and really runs with that knowledge. It never tries to be serious or realistic, and I seriously appreciated that. It piles absurdities upon absurdities. It pokes fun at cliches by making them even more cliche. Don’t believe me? Well then, why don’t I show you what we’re dealing with here. Willem Dafoe plays a stereotypical bad-guy henchman, and rather than simply have his actions reveal this fact to the audience, the director makes it glaringly obvious by having him ride a motor cycle, wear nothing but black leather, and have brass knuckles in the shape of skulls. No one in the real world looks or acts that way. But you know what? This story isn’t set in the real world, and the filmmakers know that.
Is The Grand Budapest Hotel important or profound? not in the slightest. Is it the sort of movie I would ordinarily go see? Not really. But even so, it’s wildly entertaining, highly creative, and definitely worth the price of a ticket. 7 out of 10, if you ask me. Be sure and catch it before it leaves theaters.